What I Learned About Transition From a Parrot

Amazon ParrotI had a new friend and a new mission. When the opportunity arose to adopt Delia, a Yellow-Napped Amazon Parrot, there was no question. Delilah had a small vocabulary, a sweet nature, a vitamin deficiency and because of it, a tendency to de-feather herself.

I smiled each morning as she awoke, calling, “Hello” first sweetly, then questioningly, then alarmingly then fiercely, “HE-LLO!” We had a good time together. She needed healthy food and attention which I gave, but her feathers did not come back. Molting is nature’s way of renewal.

Eventually, the food, attention and even injections could not curb her need to pull her feathers. Reluctantly I returned her to the animal hospital. After a while she went home with one of the assistants and over time she became the beautiful, whole Delia I had so hoped for.

I remembered Delia when a friend described the period of grief that follows many transitions as a time of molting. Nature herself prevails in the world of birds and animals. They survive periods of vulnerability and metamorphosis or they succumb to dangers beyond their control. The cycles of life are a constant. We accept that. We accept that in their world.

In our world questions plague us: “Who am I now?” “Who was I then, really?” “Was it real?” “Why could my value not be recognized?” “Did I, do I have value?” “What do I do now?”

In our world, as a result of transition that drastically changes the way we see ourselve, we search for reasons, we retrace every step, relive every encounter that could have led to the change. We mine our past and uncover our deepest flaws trying to make sense of it all. What was my part in it? How did this happen to me? How shall I go on?

Molt is not a pretty word, the event is not pretty; yet to survive and effect our own metamorphosis we must go through the process. We must shed the pain, the connection, the value, and the comfort of what was. It can be horrifying to face the guilt, and even more so, to face the blank time that stretches ahead of us, seemingly forever.

Yet we must ask our questions, search for answers. Eventually we realize that answers to the “Why” questions involving others, may elude us. We may not be able to know ourselves completely even after all our searching and shedding. The moment we reach that understanding is our call to action.

Action? How do we summon even the notion of a call to action when healing or rebirthing, resetting or reinventing ourselves seems impossible?

The incongruous but true answer is: Take one step. One step is the answer. What step, you ask? It does not matter, take a step!

A tentative look at a regenerative trip, or summoning the courage to imagine yourself in your dream situation, relationship or position. It could be as simple as a new hair style, a “What If” coffee or dinner with a friend, or allowing the beauty of a concert or museum add to your wellbeing. You might send up a prayer for the ideal partner. Just one step.

The gifts of wisdom and will to recover from difficult transitions live within us. We must summon these gifts along with courage and faith when we are at our lowest ebb. These gifts will enable us to recognize and to follow new paths or to return to the same path in a new way. Just one step, is the key.

Delilah was able to became her true and beautiful new self. It took time, care and patience, just as is does for us. When she was placed in the best environment for her, she was able to thrive. It took human intervention to accomplish this and to provide the space in which nature could take her positive course. Our intervention in the aftermath of our own transitional crisis will help us to thrive and face the time and space before us.

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